Getting Around

How to use the T-10 travel ticket in Barcelona

17th February 2016

One of the many wonderful aspects of life in Barcelona is the public transport network.

If visiting from the United States or the UK you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how clean, comfortable, convenient and reliable the local transport network is.

The quantity and quality of passenger information, in Spanish, Catalan and English (and some French) is very good. 

The best way to get around the city is to use public transport.

One of the first things to do after arriving in the city is to buy a T-10 integrated transport ticket — it will save you a ton of money and a lot of hassle. 

In a previous post I explained why you should consider buying a T-10 ticket when visiting Barcelona. I also told you where you can buy a T-10.

However, partly as a resuIt of a friend’s mishaps during a recent visit to Barcelona, I’ve since realised that I overlooked to tell you HOW to use the T-10.

I use a T-10 at least twice, sometimes  five or six times every day during the working week. It really is quite simple, however, I can understand how visitors from an area without an integrated transport system could feel a little daunted by the process.

So, here’s a guide to using the mighty T-10.

How to use the T-10 on the Metro (subway), local trains (RENFE Rodalies/Cercanias and FGC) and Funiculars:

First, buy your ticket.

There are not many staffed ticket offices where you can buy a ticket, and if you haven’t already purchased your T-10 at a tobacconists, newsagent or news kiosk (street newsstand) (some bakeries and other shops also sell T-10s) you will have to use a machine in a Metro station or at a Tram stop — these machines will be marked with the TMB logo (as in the photo below). You can also buy a T-10 at ticket machines at RENFE (Spanish national rail service) rail stations (these machines are coloured grey) and at FGC (Catalan national rail service) rail stations — these machines are coloured orange.

There are also a few ticket machines near bus stops on Diagonal, however these machines only accept credit/debit cards, and are so few and far between that they are not worth your time looking for.

  • Search the touchscreen for the T-10 ticket icon.
  • In the bottom right corner of the screen you’ll see four flag icons indicating which languages are available: Catalan, Spanish, English and French. Tap the union jack for English.
  • Tap the T-10 ticket icon.
  • The screen will change and show you the current price (10,20€) and give you the option of buying multiple tickets by tapping the + symbol on the left of the screen.
  • You are also able to change the Zone by using the + and symbols on the right of the screen.
  • Make sure you have the correct quantity and Zone and tap Confirm in the bottom left of the screen, or Cancel in the bottom right of the screen if you have made a mistake.
  • The screen will change and show you the total cost of the  the ticket(s) and how much you have to pay in red.

These three images illustrate the above:

English T-10

TMB no 50€

 

TMB2

BUY WITH CASH

Insert coins in the vertical slot above the screen, or insert a note (bill) up to the value of 20€ in the horizontal slot to the right of the screen, or if buying more than two T-10s, multiple notes/bills. (Please note: As at writing most machines do not accept 50€ notes/bills).

The most frequent cause of first-time users’ frustration is incorrectly inserting notes/bills.

TMB4

When inserting notes/bills be careful to place the note the correct way up as shown in the graphic above the slot.

TMB 5

The machine will issue change and deposit your ticket in the tray below the screen. You’re good to go.

BUY WITH CREDIT/DEBIT CARD

  • Find the T-10 icon on the touchscreen.
  • Tap the T-10 icon.
  • Select how many tickets you require and which Zone you require using the + symbols.
  • Place  your card in the horizontal slot to the right of the touchscreen.
  • The machine will read your card and accept or deny  it.
  • Then, on the card reader screen you will see the instruction to enter your PIN number using the keypad and the OK button, marked with a green tag in the bottom right of the keypad.
  • Then, all being well, you will see a message on the card reader screen,”Mastercard (or whatever your card name is) XXXX with the amount that has been paid.
  • Then, you will see the instruction ‘Extregui’ telling you to extract your card. Remove your card.
  • The machine will deposit your ticket in the tray below the touchscreen.

IMPORTANT: Remember to remove your card. The machine does not emit any audible warning, as do ATMs, if you leave the card in the slot. If you do inadvertently leave your card in the machine then after 30 seconds or so the machine will swallow your card. If this happens the only way to retrieve your card is to go to the TMB customer services office in Diagonal metro station the following day. Station staff do not have any way of opening the machines — they can only be opened by cash collection staff.

Ok, so you’ve got your ticket…now, how to use it.

There are 3 types of ticket barriers:

  • Turnstiles: These are the most common.
  • Plexiglass doors: These are usually found in recently built or refurbished stations.
  • Extra-wide plexiglass access points: For people in wheelchairs or electric buggies and people with child buggies or bicycles and/or lots of luggage.

Turnstiles

  • Place your T-10 the correct way up (i.e. printed with T-10 and green icons) with the white arrow in the bottom left corner pointing toward the slot.
  • Retrieve your T-10 from the slot at the back of the machine.
  • Pass through the turnstile to your RIGHT as indicated by the black arrow in the photo below.

TMB, Barcelona metro turnstilePlexiglass doors

  • Place your T-10 face up (i.e. printed with T-10 and green icons) and with the white arrow in the bottom left corner pointing toward the yellow plastic horizontal slot.
  • Retrieve your T-10 from the pop-up slot.
  • Pass through the plexiglass doors to your LEFT as indicated by the two illuminated green arrows in the photo below.

TMBPlexiglass

 

You’re on your way…now go find your platform/track.

How to use the T-10 on the bus network:

  • Buy your T-10 as above. Bus drivers cannot sell you a T-10 — they can only sell a senzill (single/one-way) ticket (2.20€).
  • Get on the bus at the front of the bus, NOT the middle nor the back. Having said, that the newer articulated (‘bendy’) busses do allow passengers to enter the bus using the middle door. These busses have middle doors with a flashing green button, similar to the buttons on many Metro carriages.
  • Say ‘Hola’ to the driver and smile or nod.
  • As you file along the gangway you’ll immediately see two ticket machines — one on your left and one on your right. Be aware that the newer articulated (‘bendy’) busses have three ticket machines.
  • Insert your T-10 with the white arrow pointing downwards into the red slot at the top of the machine.
  • The machine will make a sound and tell you how many rides you have left and your ticket will pop up.
  • Remove your ticket, put it somewhere safe and find a seat, or shuffle along the bus.
  • IF your ticket is used-up or defective the machine will make a loud intermittent beep. This is when you panic, frisk yourself for another T-10, realise you don’t have one, and before you can decide to backtrack and get off the bus the doors are already closed and the bus is on its way to the next stop. Oh no! 
  • IF this is the case — choose an appropriate moment, dip into your pocket and find 2,20€ in change and pay the driver for a single/one-way ticket.
  • Say thank you/gràcies to the driver and take deep breath of relief — they have just saved you from a potential fine of 100€.

[Remember — a T-10 is a multi-person ticket. So, if you have no rides left on your T-10, and travelling with a friend, you could always ask to use their ticket.]

 Here’s a photo of a ticket machine on a bus: 

TMB BUS MACHINE

 

How to use the T-10 on a tram:

  • Buy your T-10 from a machine as described above, or from a machine at the stop.
  • Board the tram.
  • Find a machine (very similar to the machines on a bus) which are attached to poles near every door
  • Insert your ticket in the slot with the white arrow pointing downwards.
  • The machine will make a sound (described as a ‘bip’ in the helpful information).
  • That’s it…you’re on your way.

TMB TRAM MACHINE

Transfers and duration of travel:

You need to know that you can use the T-10 to switch between various modes of transport on your route for up to 1 hour and 15 minutes and it counts as a single journey/ride.

However, be aware that you can only use 3 different modes of transport, e.g. bus, metro, train, or metro — train — funicular, or train — metro — tram etc.

For example, you could take a barrio bus (local public mini-bus) to connect with a regular bus to connect with the metro to then connect with a tram, i.e bus—metro—tram.  If you do all that in one hour and fifteen minutes from the start of your journey it only debits your ticket by one journey. However, note that once you leave the metro system you will have to use another journey when re-entering the metro.

IMPORTANT: Keep your ticket flat. If the ticket gets bent or torn then it will likely not work. You can take your damaged ticket to a TMB Customer Services office (in Diagonal, La Sagrera and Universitat metro stations) and they will issue you with another ticket. You could also ask at an office in a metro station — if you’re patient and polite the staff can, though they are not obliged to, issue you with a new ticket with the correct number of journeys.


LINKS:

Visiting Barcelona? What you need know about the T-10 in Barcelona.

TMB: The T-10

TMB: Customer Services.

TMB: Metro and Tram map

TMB: Bus map

TMB: H & V network Bus map.

 

Enjoy getting around Barcelona

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20 Comments

  • Reply Ryan Price 26th April 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Useful article! One question – if the T-10 is a multi-person ticket how do more than 1 person use it to go through the barriers at a metro station? And on a bus / tram I presume you need to validate once for each person?

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 26th April 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Hi Ryan, after the first person has passed through the barrier they pass the T-10 back to the person behind. Or, alternatively, (say, when travelling with youngsters) someone puts the T-1o through the card reader, steps aside and lets the other person go through, retrieves T-10, makes sure the barrier has closed then puts the T-10 through as normal and walks through. Dead simple. You’ll get the hang of it in no time. Yes, on the bus and tram you must validate the T-10 for each person travelling. Hope that’s useful. Enjoy your visit to Barcelona. All the best.

  • Reply Brian Lee 15th August 2017 at 4:47 am

    Useful article! One question – Can I use a credit card without a PIN number to buy T-10 from the ticket machine?

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 16th August 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Brian, assuming you mean as in a Touch’n’Go or Contactless type payment operation, then NO, you cannot currently use a credit card or debit card without inputting your PIN number when buying TMB tickets.
      A very good friend works for the company which supplies the machines that process notes and dispenses change for the TMB. I asked him your question yesterday as we wandered the streets of Gràcia. He tells me that there are plans in motion to install a more ‘frictionless’ (to use a word of the day) system, akin to London’s Oyster card system, within the next two years. Which, ironically, will threaten his company’s profits as they currently specialise in designing and developing cash payment systems. Regards.

  • Reply Julian Henson 17th February 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Hi Bill
    This information is brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing.
    We are visiting Barcelona for the first time next week & staying at the Gran Hotel La Florida, near Tibidabo. They have told me to catch the T2A bus up to the hotel from Plaça Catalunya, but I’ve read somewhere that that bus doesn’t run when the park isn’t open & I don’t think that is until March. Help! What should I do?
    Any help would be gratefully received.
    Kind regards, Julian

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 18th February 2018 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Julian. Thanks for your encouraging comments.
      Must confess I was a bit confused when I first read your query as I had to research Hotel Florida for an article a couple of years ago and from what I recall Hotel Florida offers a complimentary shuttle service in and out of the city. And, if I were a guest there I would expect nothing less.
      (For other readers’ information: Hotel Florida is a luxury five star hotel set on the Collserola ridge with a commanding view of the city and, as Julian mentions, quite near the amusement park at Tibidabo.)

      So, I do not wholly understand why hotel staff are telling you to use the T2A bus up to Tibidabo. I checked, and sure enough, came up with this link to their shuttle service: https://www.hotelfloridabarcelona.com/en/hotel/shuttle-barcelona

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/3wx19cn6res2tih/Screen%20Shot%202018-02-18%20at%2023.43.21.png?dl=0

      May not wholly understand but I am not over-surprised. Quality of service in many five-star hotels in Barcelona is not on a par with similarly ranked establishments in other major cities. During research undertaken about two years ago quality of service, or lack of, in the luxury hotel and leisure sector in Barcelona kept cropping up amid comments made by guests.

      If I were the Manager of a five-star establishment in Barcelona I’d find the wherewithal to run complimentary shuttles from airport, port, Sants and Passeig de Gràcia rail stations- just saying.

      You ask what you should do — here’s what you should do: get on the phone and reserve a shuttle.
      Please note that their instructions refer to the shuttle meeting point being at Rey Juan Carlos 1 Square (where Passeig de Gràcia meets Diagonal). I have NEVER EVER heard anyone refer to the location as such — locals, including the city bus company — refer to the location as either Els Jardinets (strictly speaking the area just above Diagonal) or Cinc d’Oros.

      You don’t say whether arriving by plane, train or ship, nor do you mention what time you arrive, so, getting from your arrival point to Cinc d’Oros is straightforward enough but another story.

      Just for interest, esteemed, or, rather, notorious former guests at Hotel Florida include Himmler — yes — the very same Himmler who oversaw the Final Solution. He was moved to the location during his visit to the city after having had his wallet stolen when staying at the the Ritz Hotel! True story.

      Hope that’s useful. If not drop me another line or two.

      Enjoy your visit to Barcelona.

  • Reply Paul 19th February 2018 at 10:51 am

    Hello Bill,

    Nice explanation of the T10 system.
    Just one question. When I change , e.g. from metro to bus, do I put the ticket in the machine again when entering the new transport ?
    Thank you!
    grtz Paul

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 19th February 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Paul, YES — you must validate your T-10 ticket each and every time you change modes of transport, for example from bus to tram, and when changing from one bus to another or one tram and another.
      However, be aware that when you leave the metro system you will need to use another of your available journeys when you re-enter the system. An example: say you begin your journey at Sagrada Familia on the Line 5 (Blue) metro travel to Diagonal where you switch lines to Line 3 (Green) then on leaving the metro station you take a bus, say, three stops to another Metro station — that is one journey. As soon as you enter the metro station and put your ticket in the machine the T-10 will re-set and deduct another journey start — you could then, again change to a bus, a tram, a funicular or local train to complete your journey
      .
      With a T-10 you can travel, for example, bus, metro, funicular, bus, tram and bus again and local train — all one journey, but you cannot travel metro, bus, tram, train, funicular, metro — that’s two journeys.

      Hope that’s useful. It’s not as confusing as it may sound. You’ll get the hang of it easy enough.Just remember to put your ticket through a machine every time you change your mode of transport.

      Enjoy your visit to Barcelona.

  • Reply Paul 1st March 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you!
    Perfect info for travelling. It worked out great.
    Beautiful city!

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 1st March 2018 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks for letting me know. Glad your trip worked out ok. Barcelona is indeed a beautiful city…even when it’s snowing!

  • Reply Julia 27th August 2018 at 9:57 am

    Awesome information, thanks Bill. I used your info to help me get around Barcelona recently. My daughter and I travelled together on one T-10 card, but one thing gave me a scare … when I stepped through the plexi doors of the metro that was fine, then I stepped back into the ‘exit’ space in order to hand my daughter the pass so that she could then pass through, and suddenly a loud alarm sounded. I wasn’t sure what to do, so changed to a different door and the same thing happened. It was late at night and there was no-one around so I ignored the alarm, passed the card to my daughter and she came through with no problem. I’m not sure why the alarm sounded but it gave us quite a fright.

  • Reply Bernie Monksfield 18th November 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Hi Bill,
    Great reading the articles…here’s what I want to do.
    Travelling from the city centre I want to go to the Sagrat Cor, this will be next month mid December. The T2A is not running then so I have to get there by metro/RENFE, funicular, foot. I will have a T-10 ticket so I want to utilise it as best possible. I have been told S1 or S2 from Catalunya to Peu del Funicular, walk to Funicular Vallvidera and get off at Vallvidera Superior. Then take bus 111 to Tibidabo. If this is correct am I then at the top for Sagrat Cor or only part of the way? If so, what else do I need to do without paying the expensive prices of the tram or extra funicular as I presume this is not covered by the T-10?
    Thanks in advance mate, Bernie

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 18th November 2018 at 7:28 pm

      Hi Bernie, yes, the route is perfectly sound.
      When you exit the funicular at Plaça de Valvidrera find the bus stop (should be numbered 1817) and get off one stop before the end of the route: Plaça Tibidabo and you’re there.

      Bus 111 is a circular route, so to return to Valvidrera funicular you could get back on the bus at the stop you got off at and it will run to the end of the route and wait for some time before it starts a new journey, (and, not exactly sure about this, did this route a few years ago and can’t now remember exactly, but you may need to validate your T-10 again, i.e. twice, one for the ‘end’ of the outward route — just one stop — and once again for the part of the new journey back to Valvidrera).

      Just a couple of pointers:
      You do not need to take the FGC S1 Or S2 from Plaça Catalunya, you could also take either from Provença station (Carrer Balmes and Carrer de Provença or Carrer de Rosselló (can never remember which) on the border of L’Antiga Esquerra de l’Eixample and Eixample Dreta) or from Gràcia station (Plaça G·la Placidia with Via Augusta), which ever is closest to your starting point.

      You don’t need to ‘walk’ from Peu del Funicular to the Valvidrera funicular, just go up the steps and you will straightaway see the ticket barrier for the funicular on your right, re-validate your T-10 and get on the funicular.

      I don’t fully understand what you mean when you say, “what else do I need to do without paying the expensive prices of the tram or extra funicular as I presume this is not covered by the T-10?” I don’t understand because the whole journey will be covered by your T-10 and count as only one journey, i.e. FGC train, FGC funicular, TMB barri bus. I think the confusion could be because the funicular which runs up to Tibidabo is privately owned and NOT covered with a T-10, where the Valvidrera funicular is most certainly covered by a T-10.

      Hope that’s useful. All the best and enjoy your visit.

  • Reply Bernie Monksfield 18th November 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the prompt reply. Yes it seems the funicular is the one causing the confusion. So the first part is covered by the T-10 ticket but the part up to where the Sagrat Cor is situated isn’t? Correct or not? If not, then is this the funicular that costs 7,70 euros one way? I am unemployed you see and my 4 day trip is paid for as a present but not spends just flights and cheap hostel accommodation. I can’t justify £14 return on a funicular and nor do I have it. Is there any other way of getting to the top? I’ve heard it’s around 40 minutes to walk? Is there no other transport? Any other ideas would be appreciated!

    Cheers, Bernie

  • Reply Bernie Monksfield 18th November 2018 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Bill,
    Forgot to mention…on a separate issue. I believe there is FREE entry into the Sagrada Familia after 2pm on a Wednesday for the unemployed. Does this cover all EU citizens or just locals and where can I get this ticket from. I’m more than happy to attach copies of my benefit paperwork to whoever it may concern.
    Thanks again, Bernie

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 18th November 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Hi again Bernie, I didn’t know anything about this so I checked the official website. Here is what it says:
      “Unemployed people

      All unemployed people in Spain who can provide proof of their status are entitled to a basic ticket to enter the temple every Wednesday afternoon, from 14:00 onwards. The additional services (visiting the towers, etc.) have to be paid for.

      Unemployed people will be requested to show their DARDE card issued by the SEPE (Public Service of State Employment).

      So, I thnk the answer is NO free entry for unemployed people from outside Spain on a Wednesday afternoon.

      You could try going along to a Mass — using the Nativity entrance. Here’s a link with details: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/worship-at-the-basilica/

  • Reply Bernie Monksfield 18th November 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Bill,

    I’ve got it now! LOL. There are so many posts all over the web saying different things that in the end it is more confusing than when I first started and new nothing! I didn’t realise the bus 111 went all the way to the Sagrat Cor, I thought it was part way and there was another funicular to the top. Anyway, that’s great news as it cuts my expenditure down knowing I don’t have to pay that. However, I do wounder why people would opt to pay for the tram and funicular when the bus does it all on the T-10? That was the confusing part as price wise it doesn’t make sense for anyone to do that. Catalunya is the easiest option for me as it is the nearest to where I’m staying and thanks for the heads up about mass. Do you just turn up for that at the given time?
    I note you say multi purpose tickets will become obvious when I’m there but if I take the metro and then a bus to somewhere, how does the ticket know it’s the same single journey and not two separate ones? Is it programmed to realise when the hour and 15 minutes is up, hence having to clock in on every part of the journey?

    Bernie

    • Reply Bill Sinclair 18th November 2018 at 9:44 pm

      Hi again Bernie,
      You ask, “why people would opt to pay for the tram and funicular when the bus does it all on the T-10?”
      Well, families taking kids up to the Amusement park would use the antique Tramvia Blau (the Blue Tram) because it was a fun thing to do — almost like an amusement ride in its own right, and the Tramvia Blau connected with the (expensive) funicular up to the Amusement Park and there is no other way to the top of Tibidabo from Plaça del Doctor Andreu apart from hoofing it. So, in all, the tram and funicular route was part of a family grand day out to the Amusement Park. I use the past tense because the Blue Tram is currently out of service and may not come back into service. I enjoyed a few trips on the Blue Tram and it was good fun. Think many people do the Blue Tram (expensive) Tibidabo funicular once and just once.

      “price wise it doesn’t make sense for anyone to do that” — well, you could say the same for getting to and from the Airport — using the T-10 costs 1,02€ per person as compared to 5,90€ on the Aerobús or 30€ for a taxi. It’s all about weighing up convenience, affordability, reliability etc etc.

      As for the Mass at Sagrada Famila, I’ve never been, but check the calendar on the link I posted and you’ll see the dates and times, most often at 9am. There’s limited seating so my advice is to get there, say, 10 minutes ahead of time if you can.

      “how does the ticket know it’s the same single journey and not two separate ones?
      Is it programmed to realise when the hour and 15 minutes is up, hence having to clock in on every part of the journey?”
      All the information is on a magnetic strip which is read by the machine. Clever stuff, eh? But it works.

      Have fun exploring Barcelona with your mighty T-10.

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